Title: Bird Box
Author: Josh Malerman
Genres: Horror | Post-Apocalyptic | Thriller
Length: 473 pages
When Malorie finds out she is pregnant, news start reporting odd occurrences. People are going crazy for no apparent reason, hurting and even killing themselves. Theories say this behaviour is triggered by something they saw, something their brain is unable to understand. So soon enough, what was once dismissed as conspiracy theories turns into the few survivors’ lifeline: no one goes outside without a blindfold.
Can Malorie survive in such a world? Can her baby?
Bird Box has made it well up in my list of most suspenseful and bone-chilling books.
It was not perfect. There was a lot I wanted to know, like what was up with Malorie’s baby daddy, and there were a few things I felt were assumed for no justifiable reason, the most striking of them the very premise of people being absolutely sure that sight was the trigger to folks going mad. As far as I am concerned, nothing presented in the book up to George and his video proved that beyond any reasonable doubt, particularly because the people suffering from such an affliction never seemed coherent enough to formulate a plausible sentence. I could easily assume that it was touch that caused it, or even smell. And yet no one else seemed to hypothesize that.
Then there were things I thought were just too much of a coincidence or just didn’t make sense, like Malorie and Olympia going into labour at the same time or her naming the children Boy and Girl. They never sounded 4 years old to me either. Not only did they sound much older but at times they would say things I have no idea how they could possibly know, having only lived in that house with Malorie. And it truly bothered me that she never once hugged them or had a single gesture of affection towards them until the last page of the book.
The narration alternates between the present – which is roughly four years after everyone went nuts – and the past, starting with the moment Malorie finds out she may be pregnant, which coincides with the first stories popping up in the news. I felt that some of what was written in the present chapters was basically filling space, just to say we had narration from both timelines. A lot felt repetitive and that it did not really add much to the story.
Obviously, I wanted more answers. The novel ends with no resolution towards the creatures, but not utterly devoid of hope. And the fact is the story constantly kept me on edge. I wanted to know what happened next and kept wanting to pick the book back up whenever I was not able to read. At times, it freaked me out. I was amazed at how terrified I felt. Imagine every single thing that can go wrong in such a reality, every fear you could have when dealing with the outside world while utterly blind. Josh Malerman put it into words.
There was a bonus story in the end which I did not enjoy much at all. Even though it was interesting to picture all the horror movies, the fact is it confused the heck out of me from the very beginning, since I could not even tell if it was fiction or an essay sort of thing, and I felt it dragged on and on for a long time.
Read Bird Box for its power to chill you to the bone with its suspenseful, terrifying scenes – not for a flawless story. It may not be perfect, but it is a guaranteed thrilling read that will surely mess with your sleep.
Read from Aug 23 to Aug 26, 2015